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Dorothy Dean presents: prime rib for Christmas dinner

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 22, 2017, 12:28 p.m.

Here’s a holiday dinner centerpiece, fit for a king.

With its juicy, tender, meat and crispy, flavorful crust, it’s no wonder this mouthwatering roast is served on the most special of occasions.

The first time I made prime rib, I followed the traditional cooking method of first searing the outside in a high temperature oven, then reducing the heat to cook through the center. But this method makes the outside of the roast overdone by the time the center is cooked through.

The best technique I found is doing the exact opposite: slow roasting the prime rib at a low temperature until the center is cooked medium-rare, rest it, then place back in an extremely hot oven to quickly crisp and brown the exterior. This makes for a roast that is evenly cooked pink throughout and has a delicious, crackling crust.

It’s pretty perfect.

Plus, there are other perks to this method. While your roast is tented in foil and resting, it gives you ample time to cook your side dishes. And since the meat is already rested, it’s ready to carve, while still hot and sizzling, after being browned in the oven.

And if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, French dips are a must for the next day.

The Perfect Prime Rib

Adapted from The Food Lab

1 standing rib roast (prime rib), 3 to 12 pounds, bones cut away from the roast and tied back to the roast with kitchen string (ask your butcher to prepare the roast this way)

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Four hours prior to cooking, set roast out to come to room temperature. Pat dry, coat with olive oil and then season well with salt and pepper (this can also be done the night prior. Just season and leave uncovered in refrigerator). Preheat oven to lowest possible temperature setting, 150 degrees or higher if necessary. (Some ovens cannot hold a temperature below 250 degrees.)

Place roast, with fat cap up, on a V-rack set in a large roasting pan, or on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and cook until center of roast registers 120-125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for rare, 130 degrees for medium-rare, or 135 degrees for medium to medium-well. Depending on size of roast and desired doneness, it will take approximately 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours in a 150-degree oven; or 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours in a 250-degree oven.

Once roast has come to desired temp, remove from oven and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, preheat oven to highest possible temperature, 500 to 550 degrees.

Ten to 15 minutes before ready serve, remove foil, place roast back in hot oven, and cook until nicely browned and crisp on the exterior, about 6 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, carve and serve.


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